GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- For the first time in 16 years, Goose Creek residents will have a choice when they head to the polls and pick a mayor.Michael Heitzler has been mayor for the last 36 years and now a city council member wants his job.Heitzler faces off against Jerry Tekac who says the two men want completely different things for the twelfth largest city in the state."The vision I have is fairly simple," said Tekac. "We're lacking commercial growth in our town." He said with the addition of 4,200 homes slated to go into a new subdivision, services like police, fire and EMS need to be funded."If you don't have corresponding commercial growth, we're going to have issues paying for things," he said. "My opponent would prefer to stay a small bedroom community and not have that commercial growth." Incumbent Michael Heitzler says Tekac is mistaken and that what he wants as mayor is to keep the "small town ambiance.""There is a way to have dynamic growth but keep that small town feeling," he said. "You have to have meeting places, you have to have hiker/biker trails and places where people can go, and parks. You have to see the green space. You have to have the wildlife in your town. If we lose this in all this rapid development, it's going to chase us away."In addition to the new subdivision, Roper Hospital is planning an extension into Goose Creek and Tekac said he would like to see a "medical cluster" form in the 17A, 176 corridor.Heitzler said he's aware of the growth but considers things like traffic congestion and the environment."Careful and conscientious development, that's the key words for the next four years," he said. "And I've been at the helm of careful and conscientious development in Goose Creek for 36 years. Some of the older folks in this town understand how far we've come."
Voters will also select three city council members. The candidates for those seats are:
- Kimo Esarey
- Debra Green-Fletcher
- Victoria Morrell
- Mark Phillips
- Gerald Stinson
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.Registered voters can head to Goose Creek City Hall located at 519 North Goose Creek Boulevard to vote.